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Wednesday, 27 June 2018

Judge questions competence of lawyer handling trial of Chinese crime suspects

Judge questions competence of lawyer handling trial of Chinese crime suspects

•Arrested Chinese Shen and Yao in Lagos…at the weekend.

A Federal High Court in Lagos on Wednesday ordered the Director of Legal Services, Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON), to appear before it in connection with the trial of two Chinese nationals, charged with importing substandard tires into the country.

The judge, Mojisola Olatoregun, handed down the order following a ruling that the prosecution of the defendants, arraigned on allegations of importation of fake tyres into the country, was incompetent.

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The accused — Tao Shen, 36, and Jing Yau, 22 — were charged alongside a Nigerian, Chinedu Madubuike, and two companies, Sino Nigeria Import and Export Ltd, and Nedeca International Ltd.

At the resumed trial of the case on Wednesday, Babatunde Alajogun, appeared for the prosecution and began the examination-in-chief of the prosecutions’ third witness (PW3).

The PW3, Sylvester Aigbe, told the court that he was the Investigating Police Officer (IPO) who recovered the substandard tires and iron rods from the defendants’ warehouse.

According to Mr Aigbe, the tires which came in different sizes were tucked in bigger ones and in batches.

Mr Alajogun sought to tender the tires and the iron rod as exhibits, but when the court asked for the number of tires recovered, he and the witness became embroiled in an argument.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the argument went on for about three minutes before the court interjected and delivered a short ruling.

“It is obvious you are not capable of prosecuting this case, you are either incompetent or corrupt.

“How can a prosecutor not (have) seen the exhibit in his case or met the witness before the case is called.

“The Director of Legal Services of your organisation must appear before this court before this case can proceed,” Mr Olatoregun
ruled.

Consequently, she adjourned the case until September 26 for continuation of trial.

The accused were alleged to have committed the offences sometime in February by conspiring to import tires that did not meet the relevant Nigerian standards.

They were also alleged to have tucked various sizes of tires into one, making them unfit for their purpose and most likely to endanger human life.

The defendants were also accused of failing to furnish the returns on the conditions of the imported tires as required by law.

The offences contravene Sections 320 and 510 of the Criminal Code, Laws of the Federation, 2004 and Sections 26 and 32 of the Standards Organisation of Nigeria Act, Laws of the Federation, 2004.

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